Twenty years of the Office for Women at IUPUI

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The exterior of the IUPUI Continuing Studies Center for Women in 1979. Photo courtesy of the IUPUI Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives

Over the past two decades, the Office for Women at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has supported the inclusion, empowerment and equality of women on campus. After the campus community gathered to celebrate the office's 20th anniversary in early April, director Kathleen S. Grove reflected on some of the many accomplishments she has witnessed during her 13 years with the office.

"There has been a growing understanding that what is good for women is also good for everyone," Grove said. "These are not issues that impact only women's lives. They are issues that impact our whole economy, culture and community.

"For the campus, these issues include talent management, talent retention, leadership succession and being a premier workplace. Even though the office is titled 'office for women,' and we do support women in their advancement, the impact is on the community and making the campus inclusive, welcoming and equitable."

IUPUI has a long history of supporting women. Even before the Office for Women was founded in 1996, the campus had several initiatives to support women in higher education. Grove reviewed a few of the milestones in these efforts since the founding of the campus in 1969.

Women at IUPUI

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"What is good for women is also good for everyone," said Kathleen Grove, director of the Office for Women. Photo courtesy of the IUPUI Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives
  • 1973 - Chancellor Maynard Hine appoints the first IUPUI Commission on the Status of Women, with Frances Dodson Rhome as chairperson, to review campus compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
  • 1975 - Sept. 19 marks the official opening of the Continuing Education Center for Women, a two-story building on 38th Street intended to "provide a home-like atmosphere where women can come for career and education counseling and for continuing education classes, as well as a meeting place for women's groups."
  • 1977 - The Committee on Women's Studies is formed.
  • 1981 - The Center for Continuing Education for Women moves to campus, into a converted private residence.
  • 1987 - The Office of Women's Research and Resources is established in Cavanaugh Hall, combining the resources of the Women's Studies Program and the Center for Continuing Education for Women.
  • 1994 - Chancellor Gerald Bepko appoints a campuswide Task Force on the Status of Women to review data and conditions for women at IUPUI and make recommendations for strategies to assure that IUPUI is a campus where women can succeed.

Office for Women established

  • 1996 - The Task Force on the Status of Women issues its final report, recommending the establishment of an Office for Women and a Commission on Women.
  • 1997 - The IUPUI Commission on Women is established. Volunteers from faculty, staff and students form working groups to address various issues. * A campuswide study of pay equity for full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty and librarians begins in July under the direction of the Commission on Women Pay Equity group, with additional financial support from the chancellor.
  • 1998 - In collaboration with the campus Affirmative Action Office and Human Resources Administration, the Sexual Harassment Working Group prepares a leadership training program for departmental chairs and unit leaders. * In September, professor Kimberly Quaid is appointed director of the Office for Women.
  • 1999 - Key Indicators for the Advancement of Women, from the task force report, are updated.
  • 2000 - The new IUPUI Center for Young Children has its official opening in August, fulfilling a recommendation of the Working Group on Child Care.
  • 2002 - Faculty and Staff Awards are added at the Fifth Annual Women's History Month Leadership Reception on March 28, co-sponsored by Student Life and Diversity and the Office for Women.
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Kathy Grove at the 2011 Women's Leadership Awards. Photo courtesy of the IUPUI Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives
  • 2004 - In February, Kathleen S. Grove is hired as the director of the IUPUI Office for Women. * The first Office for Women Pacesetter Award is given to IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher at the Back on Track reception. * Programming is initiated that includes Partnering for Promotion, Information for Your Good Health, the Women's Film Series and an expanded Women's Leadership Awards.
  • 2006 - Tenth-anniversary luncheon celebration of the Office for Women has keynote by Dr. Ora Pescovitz, CEO of Riley Hospital for Children. * Inaugural Hazelett Women in Leadership forum, co-created by IU Tobias Center for Excellence in Leadership, IUPUI and the Office for Women, features Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO for KFC Inc.
  • 2007 - The Office for Women presents the Advancing Women in Leadership symposium. * The first dedicated room for nursing mothers is opened on campus in the School of Engineering and Technology, with funding from Human Resources Administration and the Office for Women.
  • 2008 - In preparation for celebration of IUPUI's 40th anniversary, the online archive exhibit "Women Creating Excellence at IUPUI" is created by the Office for Women and University Library.
  • 2009 - New faculty pay-equity study is completed at the request of the Office for Women.
  • 2010 - Key Indicators for the Advancement of Women is updated.
  • 2011 - Enhanced Mentoring Program with Opportunities for Ways to Excel in Research is co-created by the Office for Women and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.
  • 2012 - Advancing Women Mentoring Program is co-created by the Office for Women and the Division of Student Affairs. * Sexual Assault Prevention, Intervention and Response Task Force is formed and co-chaired by the director of the Office for Women, Kathy Grove, and the director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Julie Lash.
  • 2013 - Faculty and Staff Gender Climate Study is sponsored by the Office for Women.
  • 2014 - A new Task Force on the Status of Women is appointed by Executive Vice Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar and prepares a report updating the 1994 report.
  • 2015 - Next Generation 2.0 leadership-development program is created, funded by Academic Affairs and administered by the Office for Women.
  • 2017 - The Office for Women celebrates its 20th anniversary with a celebration luncheon, presenting Pacesetter Awards to five community women: Tamika Catchings, Olympic gold medalist and retired Indiana Fever player; Betty Cockrum, CEO, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky; Miriam Acevedo Davis, president, La Plaza; Mari Evans, poet and community activist (posthumous); and Rabbi Sandy Sasso, Beth-El Zedeck congregation and Women4Change.

The future

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Members of the 2015 Next Generation 2.0 cohort work on a group activity. Photo courtesy of the IUPUI Office for Women

The Office for Women has proved its advocacy for the women of IUPUI is not only beneficial to women, but to the campus as a whole. In alignment with the Welcoming Campus Initiative, the campus supports the office's mission to strengthen the learning environment of IUPUI for all students, staff and faculty.

"I think it's important that we keep the conversation going about gender equity on campus so it doesn't get forgotten or marginalized on campus. We try to keep the conversation regarding women's issues focused, visible and impactful," Grove said.

What would the director like to see done next after her first 13 years of leadership in the Office for Women?

"What I would like to develop in the future is a women's center, or physical space for women-identified persons, on campus to gather and find resources. It would serve as a resource center for students, a gateway to access resources for faculty and staff, and a safe place to come during the school- or workday. It could also be a programming space for organizations, comparable to the Multicultural Center or the LGBTQ+ Center," she said.

If the past 20 years are proof of anything, it's that the Office for Women can make it happen.